Summit Elevation (m): 2652
Elevation Gain (m): 1600
Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 22
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you might sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Easy hiking and scrambling on grass / shale with some easy route finding.
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
Map: Google Maps
After big days on Akamina Ridge / Forum Peak and then Newman, Spionkop and Avion we were ready for a third big day on Sunday, June 21 2009. Since Wietse and I wanted to be back on time (it was Father’s day after all!) in Calgary we decided to get up at 4.45 and be hiking by around 6-6.30 after having breakfast, cleaning up camp and driving to the Red Rock Canyon trailhead parking area.
Just like the Snowshoe Trail, the Blakiston Creek Trail is probably a good candidate for your bike, if you have one. Unlike the Snowshoe Trail, this one is quite scenic and does a better job of distracting you from your aching feet, assuming you’ve already done 5 peaks and over 40 km in the previous 2 days! We hadn’t seen any bears while hiking yet on this 3 day trip, which is just as surprising as the lack of wind we were continuing to experience.
Waterton is literally crawling with both Black and Grizzly Bears and on any given visit you are pretty guaranteed to run into some bruins on the trails. Hiking next to a rush creek seemed to open up a bear encounter so we continued our practice of yelling “hey bear” every 50-100 meters. This method certainly seems to work because I’ve never surprised a bear or any other intimidating animal while practicing “safe yelling” in the mountains.
Again I was glad I had a map and after the second major drainage crossing I knew that the third was our way up Anderson. On hindsight we should have just headed up that third drainage as soon as we crossed the creek because we ended up traversing from Nugara’s photo location to climber’s right, towards that creek, anyway but Andrew’s directions worked fine too. The lower slopes of Anderson are covered in a blanket of low shrubs and trees, making the first 30 minutes sweaty and sore. The weather was very warm but the clouds were already starting to build. The lack of wind was becoming downright disturbing – maybe global warming? Whatever. I’ll take it.
One thing you should know about Anderson Peak. It’s a LONGGGGGG way up from the Blakiston Creek Trail. I know it doesn’t really look like it but when Nugara says it’s a foreshortened slope you should believe him because it definitely is! After gaining about 400 meters of vertical elevation it looked like we ‘only’ had another 300 to go but my altimeter watch said otherwise – it was more like 500 to the col and 700 to the peak.
We took a route up that trended climber’s right. This worked really well as I kicked steps up about 250 vertical meters on a nice snow slope. Again, the ridge looked like it was right there, but it wasn’t! We had to scramble up some horrible scree and then some fun hands-on stuff before I finally popped out near Anderson’s northern outlier, about 50 vertical meters higher and a few hundred meters away from the col beneath the true summit hump.
The clouds were really starting to come in at this point and I could barely make out the summit. I was on my own and decided to at least wait for one other member of our group to catch up before heading off in the clouds and mist. The weather was warm enough for thunderstorms but we hadn’t heard any booming yet so I wasn’t too worried about that. I waited for about 15 minutes before spotting two and then three figures coming over the ridge. At that point I headed up the last 150 vertical meters to the summit of Mount Anderson, which was covered in a thick layer of cloud. Soon the others joined me on the summit.
I was getting a bit concerned about the darkening sky and since I was feeling great I told the others that I was waiting till the summit of Lost Mountain to eat lunch. Keith and Anne-Marie stayed at the summit of Anderson for a few minutes while Wietse and I continued on towards Lost Mountain in the swirling clouds and mist.
After summiting Anderson Peak, Wietse, Keith, Anne-Marie and I continued on to Lost Mountain.
The clouds were getting thicker and darker as we descended 200 meters down Anderson and started the trek over and up to Lost Mountain. The wind was still very light and we weren’t getting rained on yet so all was good and we enjoyed the moody scenery on our traverse. Getting up to Lost from Anderson is really no big deal.
Once at the summit of Lost we took some quick pictures, had a bite to eat and then dropped back down on our traverse to Mount Bauerman. Little did we know that there was another peak waiting to be bagged in between.
Kootenai Brown Peak
As we descended from Lost Mountain we noticed that the route up the next ‘GR’ looked like fun. It was fairly steep with some nice scrambly bits. After reading a recent trip report we also suspected that this might be more than just a ‘GR’ and may actually be a named summit. It turns out that the scrambling up this to this peak was the most fun we had on rock all day. While you could avoid most obstacles on climber’s left, you also had the choice of solid(ish) rock straight-on which most of us chose without a second glance.
Soon we were standing on the summit of Kootenai Brown Peak. I’m pretty sure the name is still ‘unofficial’ at the time of this report, but there was a pretty official looking summit register and obviously someone is currently working on getting official recognition for this name.
We were starting to get some raindrops at this point so we quickly took some photos and dropped down for the remaining trudge to Mount Bauerman. It looked like a long way off.
After getting to the summit of Kootenai Brown Peak we only had one summit left for the day – Mount Bauerman. It looked like a long way from Kootenai but the map only indicated around 1.5-2km at the most. The ridge rising up to the summit looked easy enough, the most disheartening part was the big drop to the col in the trees first! There was quite a bit of snow lingering around the col, which actually made travel a lot easier through the thick and short trees. I simply followed some sheep tracks along the snow until the snow ran out.
There’s a nice trail beaten into the scree from about the col to the summit of Bauerman. Near the top we heard a peel of thunder. I became a bit worried and stepped up my pace, getting Keith to quickly snap my picture I immediately headed back down the scree slopes on Bauerman’s flanks towards the Blakiston Creek Trail. The scree is great, but it’s short lived. After the scree run you get endless and very steep grass / scree slopes which are easily navigated but annoying on the knees.
We navigated off the grassy slopes and after a very short bushwhack we were standing on the trail. With over 8 km left we started the long trudge back under a light rain. A fitting end to a great weekend of peak bagging in Waterton, the skies really opened up in the parking lot, just in time to go home to a hot shower!